Yesterday we told you how Virgin Atlantic’s website is now showing substantial increases to the points required for Delta Air Lines flight redemptions, with the exception of flights to and from the UK.
It seemed that many low tax sweet spots were now ludicrously expensive. Based on Virgin’s own figures, a one-way flight from Los Angeles to Paris would jump from 50,000 miles + $6 in Business Class to a crazy 130,000 miles + $6.
It may not be as bad as we think
As you can see from the Virgin Atlantic website here, on their Delta page, you have the old table – which is clearly from ‘to/from the UK’ – and then this new and painful distance based table for everywhere else:
Yesterday afternoon, however, I was contacted by the Virgin Atlantic press office.
It said, in effect, that the Virgin Atlantic website was wrong.
The new pricing is not meant to apply to any flights covered by the Virgin Atlantic / KLM / Air France / Delta transatlantic joint venture.
What does this mean?
As we always knew, the new pricing above does not apply to flights between the USA and UK.
However, it will also not apply to ANY flights between the USA and Europe on routes covered by the transatlantic joint venture, which may well be all of them.
Are you saying that Los Angeles to Paris will go back to 50,000 miles each way in Business Class?
Not necessarily. I was initially told that all transatlantic reward pricing would remain as it was, ie 50,000 miles each way in Business Class / Delta One.
.A couple of hours later, I received another more detailed email which said:
“With regards to US-Europe flights, we are still finalising the details on the pricing on these routes and the website does not currently reflect the final prices. This will be updated early next week and we will be in contact with clarification.”
This implies that Los Angeles to Paris will not necessarily go back to 50,000 miles one way, but won’t be 130,000 miles one way either.
And there is another catch …..
Wherever transatlantic pricing ends up, it will only apply to point-to-point flights.
If you add a domestic connection on Delta, your entire trip will price off the new chart above. You really don’t want that to happen, especially as connections are priced separately and added to the total points cost.
Where will the new Delta pricing apply?
The new Delta reward chart WILL apply to:
- domestic flights on Delta inside the USA
- international flights on Delta from the USA which do not cross the Atlantic
Some domestic redemptions will become cheaper under this new structure. The cheapest one-way economy flight will drop from 12,500 points to 7,500 points and no domestic economy flight of any length will be more expensive.
In business class, short flights of under 500 miles drop from 22,500 points to 17,500 points one way. It isn’t all bad news.
It is possible that the changes to pricing on Virgin Atlantic transatlantic redemptions will not be as bad as we assumed. We will have to wait until next week to see for certain.
The whole thing has been badly managed. There were a huge number of negative media stories about Virgin Points yesterday – ours was quite mild, because the UK routes were not touched – which could have been mitigated. It would be interesting to know what Virgin Red, which now owns and controls the Virgin Points currency, thinks about having their product vilified due to the actions of the airline.